Category Archives: Horse Health

Winter Respiratory Health

An elevated concentration of irritants in the air causes measurable lung inflammation in all horses. There may or may not be a true allergic component. Continued exposure can lead to IAD (inflammatory airway disease) or RAO (recurrent airway obstruction) in susceptible horses. These conditions have a considerable impact on the horse’s comfort and performance. There may be increased risk of infectious lung disease or irreversible damage in chronic cases.

A variety of airborne substances have been implicated. Ammonia from bacterial breakdown of urea in urine is a well-documented lung irritant in a variety of species. “Organic dust” is also an offender. This includes microscopic particulate matter from mites, plant material (e.g. beta-glucans), feces, bacteria and their products (endotoxin) and fungal spores.

A critical first step in reducing airway irritation is to guarantee good air circulation through the barn.  High moisture levels indicated by window condensation suspend the irritating substances, and reduced air turnover allows their concentration to increase.  Other measures to take, especially if you have symptomatic horses, include:

  • Pick out stall wet spots frequently and consider stall deodorizers (even kitty litter works) for ammonia control
  • Store hay in a separate building
  • Use wood or paper bedding rather than straw
  • Do not clean stalls or sweep with horses in the barn
  • Wet hay and bagged feeds before feeding
  • Turn the horse out as much as possible

 

Several supplement ingredients can help with maintenance of normal lung function in the face of these temporary challenges:

  • Spirulina assists in the maintenance of a normal, balanced immune response and stabilization of histamine releasing cells.
  • MSM supports a controlled inflammatory response.
  • Research has documented low levels of antioxidant vitamin C in IAD/RAO lung fluid and supplementation can help restore this.
  • Jiaogulan (Gynostemma platensis) is a Chinese adaptogenic herb which supports normal airway dilation for good air flow.

 

The reaction to the airborne irritants and allergens generates considerable oxidative stress. All living things are equipped with the ability to produce a range of antioxidant defenses, but these can be overwhelmed. When that happens, plants offer a rich source of antioxidant phytochemicals to help maintain homeostasis. These include all berries, grape seed and skins, citrus bioflavinoids which work with vitamin C, Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger and Ginkgo.

N-acetyl-cysteine supports the horse’s ability to manufacture glutathione, an important antioxidant. As an additional benefit, it assists in maintaining a normal, watery consistency to mucus so that it can be moved out easily.

IAD and RAO are common equine respiratory conditions caused by environmental irritants.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce exposure to irritants, as well as supplements to feed that help the body maintain normal lung function.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers supplements to support respiratory health.

 

LungEQ promotes overall equine respiratory, lung and immune health.  For horses with respiratory reactions to environmental irritants and seasonal allergens. With Spirulina Platensis which may help stabilize the mast cells that release histamine.  MSM supports normal regulation of inflammation.  Flaxseed meal promotes balanced inflammatory pathways.  Jiaogulan supports healthy histamine levels, open airways, and healthy immune response.

Spirulina has been documented to support the immune system in producing circulating IgG and IgM antibodies, mucus membrane associated IgA antibodies in the lungs, gut and genitourinary systems, and to shift away from the IgE antibodies associated with allergic reactions.

Phyto-Quench Pellets provide powerful antioxidants featuring Devil’s Claw to help maintain healthy immunity, especially for horses not on fresh pasture.  With phytonutrient rich ingredients for vascular and tissue integrity, Phyto-Quench fights the damaging effects of free radicals by neutralizing oxidative reactions to maintain a normal inflammatory response. Plant-based phytonutrients include Garlic, Devil’s Claw, Turmeric, Grape Seed, Ginkgo Biloba, and Boswellia.  Also available in a palatable powder that does not contain Devil’s Claw.

Bio-Quench Supports horses with seasonal allergies.  With natural antioxidants to help promote the immune system and provide protection from excessive oxidation that can generate free radicals.  With a potent blend of plant antioxidants, antioxidant vitamins and B vitamins for optimal immune enhancing effects.

Vitamin C or immune support and function, especially for horses not on fresh pasture.  It promotes the body’s innate resistance to pathogens and protects against damaging free radicals to maintain a healthy inflammatory response.

Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided credit is given to Uckele Health & Nutrition, who appreciates being notified of publication.

 

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.  www.uckele.com.

Antiparasitic Resistance Invokes FDA Request

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Resistance to dewormer products currently available on the market has caused the FDA to invoke a request that animal drug companies voluntarily revise their product labels for their approved anthelmintics used in livestock, including horses.

 

This edict brings the issue of antiparastic resistance front and center and horse owners may wish to heed the advice that the FDA has provided in regard to the need to engage in a targeted, evidence based worm control program for their equines to include fecal equine control testing (F.E.C.T.). The F.D.A. also heralded the importance of retesting (F.E.C.R.T) after administration of an appropriate dewormer treatment. This is necessary to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment.

 

This an excerpt from the FDA statement regarding their request for voluntary additional labeling:

 

New Labeling Information about Antiparasitic Resistance
Cattle, Small Ruminants, and Horses ~

 

Antiparasitic resistance is particularly concerning in grazing species (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses). Because these animals are continually exposed to worm eggs on the pasture, they can have repeated parasite infections. FDA has requested that animal drug companies add the following statements to the labels of all anthelmintics for cattle, small ruminants, and horses:

  • Parasite resistance may develop to any dewormer, and has been reported for most classes of dewormers.
  • Do not underdose. Ensure each animal receives a complete dose based on a current body weight. Underdosing may result in ineffective treatment, and encourage the development of parasite resistance.
  • Treatment with a dewormer used in conjunction with parasite management practices appropriate to the geographic area and the animal(s) to be treated may slow the development of parasite resistance.
  • Fecal examination {F.E.C.T.} or other diagnostic tests and parasite management history should be used to determine if the product is appropriate for the herd/flock, prior to the use of any dewormer. Following the use of any dewormer, effectiveness of treatment should be monitored (for example, with the use of a fecal egg count reduction test {F.E.C.R.T.} or another appropriate method).
  • A decrease in a drug’s effectiveness over time as calculated by fecal egg count reduction tests may indicate the development of resistance to the dewormer administered. Your parasite management plan should be adjusted accordingly based on regular monitoring.”

How has this parasite resistant situation developed you might ask? The overuse of dewormers brings with it increasing likelihood of even larger equine internal parasite populations that have developed resistance to current dewormers on the market. Inappropriate dosing either due to the horse spitting out the dewormer at time of administration or wrong weight estimations for dosage are also causes for dewormer resistance to begin. But the main cause comes down to the survival process part of which is successful reproduction.

 

When you administer a dewormer product to your horse it will necessarily be most effective against the adult sexually active worms that are the most sensitive and it will leave behind those worms that are the most resistant. Now you have created a selective breeding situation. These resistant adult worms will now mate together to create more highly dewormer resistant worms.

 

As a result, eventually the dewormer will become useless as a method for treatment of worms in that equine population and their environment. As horses move around from place to place, these resistant worms are spread on the pasture to other grazing herds.

 

There are many options to source for your testing needs but be certain to find one that offers full consultation services to address questions you may encounter if your F.E.C.R.T. does not showcase the expected 90% reduction in the shedding worm count.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.

 

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

 

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York.

 

Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about the affordable freelance writing services on offer

Equine Strongyle Worms Weather The Winter

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Like many horse owners I was under the assumption that freezing temperatures in winter would kill off any small strongyle worm eggs or larvae on horse pastures, and stop the life cycle of these parasites when they are outside of their equine host.

 

Apparently that is not the case. Surprisingly, the small strongyle can survive not just freezing temperatures, but also freeze and thaw cycles. There is no such thing as a ‘killing frost’ where strongyle worms are concerned, as Dr. Neilsen and Dr. Reinemeyer explain in their wonderful Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition.

 

While there are environmental factors of moisture and oxygen availability to be considered as critical components in the development life of the strongyle worm, the effect of temperature plays a significant part in its survival.

 

Optimum temperature for egg and larvae development is in the range of 77-91 degrees Fahrenheit. While non-optimal conditions may slow the rate of hatching and development of the strongyle worm, studies conducted by Dr. Nielsen indicate that unembryonated eggs can survive occasional freeze/thaw cycles up to 97 days.

 

When you think about the insulating effects of a light layer of snow on animal and plant life on the surface of the soil and the likelihood that worm eggs are often located in equine fecal balls, the microenvironment for the strongyle worm can be kept at a relatively constant temperature close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides an effective level of protection for the worm eggs from repeated freeze and thaw cycles.

 

That is not to conclude that long term freezing doesn’t damage strongyle eggs and reduce larval yield significantly. It indicates that the horse owner still needs to be vigilant about their targeted horse worm control program throughout the year.

 

It is important to remember that worms enjoy a life ‘cycle’ and that their life is not one in stasis. This means that even if you have dewormed your horse following an initial positive F.E.C.T. (fecal egg worm test) and have a negative shedding egg worm count when you conduct a follow up test F.E.C.R.T. (fecal egg count reduction test), it does not mean that the stronglye worm is not present in its host the horse, laying wait in an encysted stage in the intestinal mucosal layer for shedding later. It also means that worm eggs may be present on the pasture that may have survived cold or warm temperatures.

 

A smart horse owner will therefore take the precaution to pick up manure on a regular basis from the pastures to reduce the degree of contamination of the horse herd from infective parasites and also enact a regular F.E.C.T. program to keep abreast of the levels of strongyles present in the herd and administer appropriate dewormer treatments.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information

Give Your Horse the Gift of Pasture Diversity

 

Nov. 30, 2018 (Flint Hill, Va.)— It’s the season for giving! Why not give the gift of natural nutrition to your horse this season by diversifying his pasture with healthy herbs?

 

“Horses are designed to graze up to 20 hours a day on diversified forage types, including herbs they instinctively know they need,” said holistic veterinarian and founder/owner of Harmany Equine Dr. Joyce Harman. “Though many pastures have been over managed so that there’s very little natural herb growth, horse owners can plant herbs in the pasture or in grazing patches around the barnyard for their horses to munch on.”

 

Not sure what to plant? Though not a complete list, here’s a handful of herbs that are common throughout the country that horses crave:

 

Chicory

 

Chicory occurs naturally as a “weed” throughout the country, but this drought- and frost-resistant “weed” is anything but! Chicory has a high mineral and protein content. This palpable herb is tough enough to withstand heavy grazing, and is even considered nutritionally superior to alfalfa.

 

Echinacea

 

It’s easy to find echinacea on the shelf of any drug store because it’s well known for immune system support in humans. Not only do horses reap these same benefits, but there’s a small study that suggests echinacea increases the number of circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin levels, and the number of lymphocytes in a horse’s blood. In the study, the improvement in blood quality was most noticeable after the 28-day mark.

 

Fennel

 

Fennel is a bit of an MVP herb. It not only promotes digestive health and helps relieve gas, but it’s very rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium.

 

Fenugreek

 

Fenugreek has been praised for centuries for its lactation-supporting properties in humans, and it can also support healthy milk production in lactating mares. But, its benefits don’t end there. Studies in humans and rats have shown fenugreek’s ability to slow glucose absorption. Additionally, it can be helpful during the winter months for horses with arthritis.

 

Lemon Balm

 

As part of the mint family, lemon balm is more than a great smelling herb! It’s noted for its calming effect on the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. It can even help relieve gas that sometimes triggers colic. Lemon balm is another all-star herb because it also has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

 

For those horse owners who are interested in increasing pasture diversity for their horses but not sure where to start, Dr. Joyce Harman has helped revive a product called Sow Your Seeds Pasture Blend that combines all of the herbs listed above, as well as some other notable herbs. The mixture contains perennials and self-sowing annuals that horses would naturally seek out if they could free graze the countryside. The blend can withstand heavy traffic and grow in most of the country.

Five Reasons Your Horse Will be Thankful for Getting Steamed Hay

 

by Nan Meek

 

What does your horse think about his hay? If horses could only speak!

 

Actually, they do. Horses’ bodies speak eloquently, using impossible-to-ignore external physical expressions of internal health issues including respiratory problems, laminitis, insulin resistance and colic, for example.

 

Listen to what your horse is telling you: Is he eating all his hay, or leaving some on the stable floor? Does he cough or have nasal discharge, or is his performance just not quite up to his usual standard? Does he have sore feet or gut problems? He may be telling you to look into his hay hygiene.

 

Here are five reasons your horse will thank you for switching to hay steamed with Haygain® Hay Steamers.

                 

  1. Nutritional value: You feel better when you’re eating well, right? So does your horse. Steamed hay retains nutritional value, so the level of nutrition your hay contains before steaming, remains in your hay after steaming. Your horse’s feeling of wellbeing depends to a great degree on good nutrition, so make sure your horse’s hay retains its nutritional value – you can do that AND virtually eliminate mold, fungi, yeast, bacteria and respirable particles.

 

                 

  1. Palatability: If your horse is a picky eater, you know how important palatability is to ensuring your horse gets the nutrition he needs. “That smells good enough for ME to eat,” is a frequent human comment on the fragrance of steamed hay. Horses agree, and the hay that smells good enough to eat, gets eaten.

 

  1. Respiratory issues: “Achoo!” “Cough, cough.” “Ackkkk.” Do you hear any of those respiratory reactions from your horse? Studies show that even when you don’t, your horse could still have respiratory issues. Steamed hay helps by “steam cleaning” naturally-occurring allergens such as respirable particles and bacteria out of your hay.

 

  1. Laminitis and insulin resistance: These conditions require feeds low in NSC (non-structural carbohydrates) or sugars. Often, horse owners are advised to soak hay to reduce NSC, but studies show that even a 10-minute soak increases bacterial content by 150%. Steaming hay with Haygain reduces bacteria by 99%, so “steam after soaking” to protect your horse’s digestive system.

 

  1. Colic: Poor forage hygiene caused by bacteria and mold has been identified as a risk factor for colic. Steaming hay with Haygain eliminates 99% of both. Especially in winter, providing plenty of fiber and hydration is essential risk reduction. For every bale of hay that is steamed, three quarters of a gallon of water is put back into hay. “Hay hygiene” with Haygain is smart anti-colic strategy.

 

Haygain hay steamers are the only scientifically proven method to eliminate 99% of mold, fungi, yeast and bacteria in hay and up to 98% of respirable dust particles – contaminants that can be found even in the best, most expensive hay. Steaming hay with Haygain retains nutritional value, improves palatability and helps manage respiratory issues, laminitis, insulin resistance, colic and post-surgery recovery.

 

Your horse is already thankful to you for many things – a hot bran mash on a winter morning or a cooling shower on a hot afternoon, not to mention that long gallop on the beach or cool trail ride through the forest.

 

Now you have five more reasons your horse will love you – all for switching to steamed hay. And you’ll love Haygain Hay Steamers for helping reduce these risks to your horse’s health.